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Practice makes permanent.

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Vince Lombardi

We’ve all been there, a ropey round of golf with a variety of miss hits and a LOT of balls lost, right…? But all is not lost, surely all you really need is a bucket of balls on the range hitting that damn driver and you will magically solve all your problems! Fool-proof.

Whilst you’re on the range, you do hit a few good ones that convince you that you’re cured, but then, you step up to the first tee, and BANG, another lost ball.

So why doesn’t this perfection on the range translate onto the course?

It may have something to do with the face that consistently hitting 50 – 100 drivers in succession isn’t what you’d do on the course! So with that in mind how can you best utilise your time on the range in order to reduce your handicap and get back to, maybe, enjoying golf?

Practice with purpose!

Different practice types are beneficial for different levels of golfer, and unfortunately there’s no firm guide on when you should change your practice type, so use your judgement, but if you see no benefit, don’t be afraid to try a different type of practice.

There are typically three main practice types, blocked, serial and random and as aforementioned use your own judgement when deciding which is best for you. It is important to leave your ego in the car, practice according to your actual ability, not the ability you want. If you practice enough and with real intent, your handicap will come tumbling down!

Practice Types

Blocked Practice

Blocked practice is repeating the same shot with the same club over and over again, learning the movement and grooving it to your tailored needs. For example hitting 50 – 100 drivers in a row.

Serial Practice

Hitting a variety of clubs / shots but in a set sequence, reducing how often you hit the same club and making it more round specific. For example, hitting your driver, 7 iron, sand wedge and repeating these shots in this order.

Random Practice

Hitting set clubs in no particular order, making it the most round specific practice, practicing as though you were playing and adapting after each shot. For example hitting driver, 7 iron, sand wedge, driver, 9 iron, 6 iron.

Making the most of your practice

Whatever practice method you choose, make your range time as round specific as possible. Go through your pre shot routine and imagery before every shot, if you’re unsure of how to implement these then head over to my previous blogs (yes, two shameless plugs in one sentence!) to learn more about these techniques.

By doing this, you will mentally and physically ready yourself for every shot; this will translate onto the course with your body knowing when you’re about to swing. This, implemented with your best suited practice method, will work together to help you not only groove your swing, but also increase repeatability of the swing.


In order to best utilise your practice time you have to be realistic with where you’re at with your game. Doing this will help you best select the practice method you need and your time at the range will be more beneficial when you do.

Don’t just think hitting a bucket of drivers is exactly what you need, you may be at a level where you need to hit a variety of clubs to see the most improvements in your game.

To find out more

For more psychology resources visit psych-chek.

About the Author

Luke Vidler

An amateur golfer and recent graduate of Chichester University. I have both a BSc and MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology and am keen to utilise my knowledge in practical situations, even if I can’t help myself!

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